Devoted to the Propagation and Defense of New Testament Christianity
December 6, 1962

Some Orphan "Home" Facts

E. L. Flannery

1. The first orphan asylum (Home) as known today began in 1895, and was set up by August Hermann Franke in Germany.

2. The first orphan asylum (Home) in the United States was begun in 1729 by the Ursuline Convent, New Orleans; the second was in 1738, in Savannah, Ga., by the Methodists. (R. R. Reeder, The Survey, Vol. 54, 1925, p. 283)

3. The first orphan asylum built by those regarded in the Restoration Movement was built by the Christian Church (Disciples) in 1884. (A. W. Fortune, Disciples in Kentucky, p. 303-307.)

4. The first orphan asylum (Home) built that received funds from churches of Christ was chartered in 1909 at Columbia, Tennessee, Tennessee Orphan Home. It began operation September 5, 1910. It is now located at Spring Hill, Tennessee. "There were two addresses made, one by Dr. Dinwiddie, preacher for the Methodist Church in Columbia, and the other by R. H. Boll...." (Gospel Advocate, Sept. 15, 1910, pp. 1036-1037.) Any person 52 years of age is as old as the oldest Orphanage supported by churches of Christ.

5. The second orphan asylum "among us" was in 1915 (Potter's) when I was one year old.

6. By the time I was a high school sophomore, 1930, three more had been established, for a total of five.

7. By World War II there were seven orphan asylums being supported by some of the churches of Christ and by individuals.

8. Since World War II, 20 such "Homes" have been built, and 17 of these were built in the 1950's! (Christian Chronicle, Dec. 2, 1960. p. 13.)

9. In connection with this great increase in orphan asylums built to be supported by churches of Christ, let us observe these facts in contrast: there are fewer orphans now in the United States than there were forty years ago. In 1920 there were 6,400,000 orphans with 750,000 full orphans and only 30,000 under 15 years of age. The percentage of orphans in 1920 was 16.3 percent of the child population, while in 1960 it was but 4.5 percent. Full orphans accounted for 1.9 percent of the child population in 1920, but presently is but 0.1 percent. (See Statistical Abstract)

Child caring agencies have recognized the need to limit institutional care of children if at all possible, limiting such type care to the physically, mentally, and emotionally handicapped. The orphan asylum care is the lowest level child care permitted in civilized countries. Thurston (The Dependent Child, pp. 2-4) sets forth these levels of child care: first level, independent home; second level, supplemented home; third level, foster home; fourth level, institutional home; followed in this order by outlawed levels of care — indenture, almshouses, feudalism, slavery, and infanticide. We seriously doubt that any authority in the field of child care would disagree with Thurston on this matter. (See Foster Care of Children, Pamphlet, U.S. Dept. of Health, Education, and Welfare, Soc. Sec. Admin., 1954, Helen R. Hagen.)

Neither the Lord nor his apostles ever built or taught the church to build an orphan asylum, or to contribute to one. Friend, here are some cool facts to consider in a warm controversy. Please weigh and apply them properly.

— From: The Northeast Exhorter, Gainesville, Florida